An Evaluation of the Implementation of a UK School-Based Running Program
2.1. Programe Description
2.2. Study Design
2.3. Study Population and Recruitment
2.4. Data Collection
2.4.1. School Level Measures
2.4.2. Individual Level Measures
Pupils’ Physical Activity
Pupil Focus Groups
2.4.3. Running Program Participation
2.5. Data Analyses
2.5.1. Qualitative Data
2.5.2. Quantitative Data
3.1. School Implementation Context
We are a school that has always had activities to do because lunchtime is when you have the most incidents. So, we do have structured activities most lunchtimes for everybody anyway; that does help.MK Champion, School 4 (TP5)
Just looking purely from my class, yes, it’s those that are always engaged, always enthusiastic, or always try their best whatever you throw at them. They’re the ones who tend to do it. But, coupled with that, you’ve got those who, shall we say, the less sporty inclined so those who don’t necessarily take part because it’s too much effort.Year 5 teacher, School 5 (TP2)
3.5. Dose of MK Delivered
3.6. Dose of MK Received
It started off the first couple of weeks with big mobs of children running, very, very keen and enthusiastic. The assembly did enthuse them and that went really well, and then gradually as weeks have gone on numbers have gone down and down to the sort of current point where we maybe have sort of 10 running at a lunchtime.MK Champion, School 5 (TP2)
3.7. Level of Implementation
3.8. Quality of Implementation
I think the program needs someone who, someone in charge really because it would fall apart.MK Champion, School 1 (TP6)
Teachers are very busy people and lunchtimes, in particular, are very busy. You’re trying to have your lunch, first of all, and then set up for the afternoon lessons. That’s what lunch hours tend to be. So, there was limited opportunity for us to go out there.MK Champion, School 5 (TP5)
We have some staff members who were ‘Well, why are we doing that for all the classes?’. I don’t have many negative Nellies. I’m hoping that because I’m going to go out there and do it, and [MK Champion] has said that she wants to, I’m hoping that we can bring them along with the tide.Headteacher, School 1 (pre-program)
Most of the time now you don’t even know you’re doing it because you automatically just do it and you don’t know that you are just doing it yourself.Year 5 boy, School 4 (TP5)
Yeah, in all honesty, I didn’t have the time to run it properly. What it really needed is a member of staff out there in a tracksuit and trainers every day running alongside the children, being that role model.MK Champion, School 5 (TP6)
We should get, like, a ‘Well done’ from our teachers. They don’t really say anything… I think it would encourage us to keep doing more and more bands. I think that would, like, encourage us.Year 5 girl, School 4 (TP5)
4.3. Dose Delivered
4.4. Dose Received
4.5. Strengths and Limitations
Conflicts of Interest
|Name||Marathon Kids UK|
|Why: logic, mechanisms of goals of intervention||To provide children, regardless of their current fitness abilities, the tools, motivation and support to live healthier, happier lifestyles.|
Formal adoption of the ‘5 pillars’ which underpin the programme: Goal setting, Tracking, Role modelling, Celebrating and Rewards) and explicit links made between the resources and tools to support the programme.
|What materials||At least one measured running course of approx. 250 m but ideally two, to allow one hard surface and one grass surface course with visible markers at each corner point.|
Free welcome pack including MK Champion t-shirt, ambassador badges and posters for the staff room as well as support tools to download from the website including official documents, template letters, template press releases and videos and how to guides, posters, hints and tips.
A number of optional extras such as on-site support from a member of the KRF team (Marathon Maker) are available to purchase from the online shop.
|What and how||Pupils are challenged to walk/run up to four marathons over the course of the academic year via weekly opportunities to complete laps of a course and accumulating distance.|
A representative from the school to be the MK Champion.
Two children from Year 5 and two from Year 6 to be MK Ambassadors to support the MK Champion to manage the programme.
Laps are tracked (using a means chosen by the school) and centrally recorded in school using the DTS on a weekly basis.
Certificates are automatically generated by the online DTS and available to print once key milestones are reached. Medals can be ordered via the online shop.
In July, every school which has taken part in the programme is invited to the Festival of Running celebration event.
|Who provided the intervention||The MK Champion signs up the school, downloads the Marathon Champion’s guide, requests and receives consent from parents for pupil’s participation and populate the DTS.|
The MK Champion provides opportunities for pupils to participate at least once to twice a week.
|Where||MK is a school-based running programme, predominantly delivered in primary schools (Reception to Year 6) but open to other educational settings (i.e. secondary schools and nurseries).|
Running takes place on the school grounds or adult led running in the local area.
|When and how often||Flexible options of when schools can offer MK sessions during different times of the day but the popular/favourable option is to implement as a lunchtime based activity to support the inclusive ethos of the programme.|
MK supports all weather running in accordance with the school’s risk assessment for the activity.
|Planned and unplanned variation||MK is an inclusive activity, and engagement of the whole school is encouraged. Flexibility is built into the programme so that schools can implement according to their needs and circumstances.|
|Participant Group||Main Themes||Example Question|
|Headteacher||Knowledge and understanding of Marathon Kids||How clear do you feel about the aims and objectives of Marathon Kids?|
|Context of the school||How has physical activity and healthy lifestyles been supported/promoted to date?|
|Decision to engage with Marathon Kids||What was is specifically about Marathon Kids which appealed to you?|
|Preparing to implement Marathon Kids||Are there any challenges you are anticipating in delivering Marathon Kids?|
|Teacher/Marathon Kids Champion||Process of implementation||How is Year-5’s participation in Marathon Kids supported; can you talk me through the process used to deliver the programme?|
|Reach of Marathon Kids||What do you think are the common characteristics among those children who participate in Marathon Kids?|
|Fidelity of delivery of Marathon Kids||Which, if any of the Marathon Kids resources are you using?|
|Dose of Marathon Kids (delivered and received)||How has participation among Year 5 changed, if at all, since launch?|
|Outcomes of Marathon Kids||What sort of impact, positive or negative, do you think it is having on your pupils?|
|Pupils||Knowledge and understanding of Marathon Kids||Can you tell me a little bit about what Marathon Kids is; how would you describe it?|
|Reach of Marathon Kids||Does everyone in your class participate in Marathon Kids?|
|Fidelity of Marathon Kids||What is the role of the young leaders (Marathon Kids Ambassadors), how do they support Marathon Kids?|
|Dose of Marathon Kids delivered||What does Marathon Kids look like in your school? How frequently does your teacher lead Marathon Kids, which day(s), at what time, how many days a week?|
|Dose of Marathon Kids received||Can you tell me a little bit about how you participate in Marathon Kids? How often do you take part, when and who with?|
|Outcomes of Marathon Kids||What, if anything, do you like/enjoy about Marathon Kids?|
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|Implementation Outcome||Implementation Outcome Definition||Description||Data Collection|
|Reach||The number (%) of pupils and teachers involved in the programme and their representativeness (e.g., by BMI, SES, sex)||School level:|
Characteristics of schools participating in MK
|Pupil questionnaire (Q-SPACE-R)|
Characteristics of teachers/staff participating in MK
Number/percentage of pupils participating in MK
|Characteristics of pupils participating in MK||Demographic (SIMS)|
|Fidelity of delivery||The extent to which the delivery of MK was implemented as planned||School level:|
Conformity to the implementation strategy i.e., use of the ‘MK five pillars’ *
|Teacher/MK Champion interview|
Pupil focus group
|TP2 & TP5|
|Observation||TP2, TP3, TP4|
|Dose delivered/received||How much of the MK sessions were delivered and received||School level:|
The number of sessions/week pupils participated in
|Teacher/MK Champion interview|
Pupil focus group
|TP2 & TP5|
|Observation||TP2, TP3, TP4|
|School||Urban/Rural Description||Status||No of Pupils in the School||Ofsted Rating||IDACI (Decile)||eFSM (%)|
|2||Rural village||Church of England Academy converter||58||Good||10||11.8|
|3||Rural town and fringe||Church of England||501||Outstanding||6||16.4|
|4||Rural town and fringe||Church of England Academy converter||215||Good||4||24.7|
|5||Urban||Academy sponsor led||355||Requires improvement||5||18.8|
(n = 81; 47.4%)
(n = 90; 52.6%)
(n = 171)
|Age||9.6 ± 0.4||9.7 ± 0.3||9.7 ± 0.3|
|White British||52 (64.2%)||53 (58.9%)||105 (73.9%)|
|Asian (South Asian and East Asian)||3 (3.7%)||3 (3.3%)||6 (3.5%)|
|Other||14 (17.3%)||19 (21.1%)||33 (19.3%)|
|eFSM,||11 (13.6 %)||10 (11.1%)||21 (12.3%)|
|IMD decile score||7.14 (± 2.7)||6.41 (± 2.8)||6.77 (± 2.6)|
|Overweight and obese||25 (30.5%)||24 (24.5%)||49 (26.1%)|
|Monitor wear (minutes/day)||721.4 (± 83.2)||704.6 (± 83.2)||724.3 (± 71.5)|
|School day * monitor wear (minutes/day)||267.32 (± 122.7)||221.5 (± 114.3)||306.6 (± 104.8)|
|Sedentary (minutes/day)||411.6 (± 67.6)||420.9 (± 71.3)||416.83 (± 69.6)|
|Light (minutes/day)||239.2 (± 39.9)||229.6 (± 44.5)||233.84 (± 42.7)|
|MVPA (minutes/day)||68.1 (± 24.6)||51.6 (± 18.9)||58.9 (± 23.1)|
|Pupils achieving ≥60 min of MVPA on every valid day||35 (23.8%)||22 (14.9%)||57 (38.8%)|
|Pupils achieving ≥30 min of MVPA on every valid school day||16 (76.2%)||5 (23.8%)||21 (24.4%)|
|MK Implementation Strategy||Fidelity Markers||School 1||School 2||School 3||School 4||School 5||Fidelity Marker Total|
|Celebration||A launch event is held||2||2||2||2||2||10|
|Role modelling||MK Champion and MK Ambassadors identified||2||2||2||2||2||10|
|Goal setting||Opportunity for pupils to participate once to twice a week||2||2||2||2||2||10|
|Monitoring/tracking||Takes place along an identified marked route||2||2||1||2||1||8|
|Lap bands are used to monitor laps completed||2||2||1||2||2||9|
|DTS used to track progress||2||2||2||2||2||10|
|Reward||Rewards issued at key milestones||1||1||2||1||1||6|
|School||Class||No of Weeks of Implementation||No of Weeks of Completed Log Data||No of Weeks of Delivery||No of Sessions of MK Offered||Average Duration of MK Session Per Week *|
|(From Launch Date to Close of Programme, Minus Holidays)||(The Number of Weeks At Least 1 Session of MK Was Held)||0–5 Min||5–10 Min||10–15 Min||15–20 Min||20–30 Min||More Than 30 Min|
|School 1||28||23 (82%)||19 (83%)||33||0||0||0||0||6.1%||93.9%|
|School 2||24||24 (100%)||23 (96%)||45||0||0||0||36.6%||2.9%||0|
|School 3||Class A||21||19 (86%)||15 (79%)||28||3.6%||10.7%||28.6%||46.4%||10.7%||0|
|Class B||21||19 (86%)||15 (79%)||29||3.4%||10.3%||20.7%||13.3%||2.9%||0|
|Class C||21||19 (86%)||15 (79%)||28||3.6%||10.7%||21.4%||55.2%||10.4%||0|
|School 4||23||20 (87%)||18 (94.7%)||70||0||0||10%||21.7%||14.7%||0|
|School 5||Class A||25||20 (80%)||16 (84%)||15||5.9%||0||0||1.7%||35.4%||11.1%|
|Class B||25||20 (80%)||16 (84%)||15||5.9%||0||0||1.7%||35.4%||11.1%|
|School||Class||Dose of MK Received|
|Total Distance (km)||Average Distance Per Pupil (km)||Average Distance Per Pupil Per Week (km)||Boys (%)||Girls (%)|
|School 3||Class A||724.0||27.8||1.33||0.73–2.9||25||25||50||61.5||30.8||7.7|
|School 5||Class A||448||20.4||0.81||0.02–1.9||28.6||21.4||50||12.5||50||37.5|
|School||Dose of MK Delivered||Fidelity of Delivery to MK (%)||Level of Implementation of MK|
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Chalkley, A.E.; Routen, A.C.; Harris, J.P.; Cale, L.A.; Gorely, T.; Sherar, L.B. An Evaluation of the Implementation of a UK School-Based Running Program. Children 2020, 7, 151. https://doi.org/10.3390/children7100151
Chalkley AE, Routen AC, Harris JP, Cale LA, Gorely T, Sherar LB. An Evaluation of the Implementation of a UK School-Based Running Program. Children. 2020; 7(10):151. https://doi.org/10.3390/children7100151Chicago/Turabian Style
Chalkley, Anna E., Ash C. Routen, Jo P. Harris, Lorraine A. Cale, Trish Gorely, and Lauren B. Sherar. 2020. "An Evaluation of the Implementation of a UK School-Based Running Program" Children 7, no. 10: 151. https://doi.org/10.3390/children7100151